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Pub Proximity and Puppy Day Care: Developers list the most in-demand features in new developments

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At a glance

    • Homeworking offices and outside space continue to top the list as the impact of lockdowns linger and hybrid working proves popular
    • Granny annexes, home gyms, and proximity to the pub increasingly important for Brits

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Convenience remains key for buyers

Homeworking continues to drive development decisions according to developers as hybrid working remains popular amongst businesses and employees alike, finds new research from Shawbrook.

While the impact of the Covid-19 lockdowns lingers when it comes to home-working – with 44% of workers now home or hybrid working in 2023[1] – the trend of moving to the countryside has largely reversed, leading many buyers to prioritise properties within a commutable distance to the office, but importantly, with both office and outside space, according to Shawbrook’s research amongst developers.

Property developers are therefore still prioritising these aspects when beginning a new build, with one in three (30%) of developers saying that a home-working space is the most important element that buyers are looking for in a new property.

In addition, developers believe that buyers are favouring outside space and gardens (27%), and developments with good proximity to their workplace (43%).

Other elements that developers are prioritising within properties in order to align with buyer preferences include:

  • Storage (26%)
  • Solar panels (24%)
  • En-suite bathrooms (23%)
  • Spare bedrooms (23%)
  • Home gyms (21%)
  • Heat pumps (20%)
  • Granny annexes (17%)

Outside of the properties themselves, developers are also considering the key elements their developments need to tempt buyers. While proximity to good schools (31%) and good transport links (27%) might come as no surprise, 15% of developers believe that proximity to the local pub and puppy daycare are key. The top priorities were:

  • Proximity to good schools/ childcare (31%)
  • Good transport links (27%)
  • Access to walks and green space (23%)
  • Community spaces (23%)
  • High-end shops and supermarkets (21%)
  • Gym & leisure facilities (21%)
  • Nearby cafes and restaurants (20%)
  • Independent shops (19%)
  • Bargain shops and supermarkets (e.g., Aldi or Lidl) (17%)
  • Good proximity to a local pub (15%)
  • Puppy daycare (15%)

Evidently, developers know that convenience remains key for buyers. They are also not leaving the design of their developments to chance with 43% using technology to inform them on buying trends. Technology like AI, for example, can help developers keep track of trends and stay ahead of the competition by predicting buyer needs.


*Survey was carried out by Censuswide, surveying 513 property developers ages 18+ between 3rd and 11th July 2023.



“With the growth of technology, developers have better tools to assess what buyers are looking for and ensure these aspects are included within their developments. Whether it’s home gyms or puppy daycare, they will want to ensure they are responding to demand.”

- Terry Woodley, MD of Development Finance at Shawbrook

Terry Woodley, MD of Development Finance at Shawbrook, comments:

“Developers often have a challenging job predicting what buyers will want, ahead of the eventual build. As we’ve seen in recent years, our requirements for homes can change dramatically. However, it’s clear from our research that some trends are here to stay. Home-working, for example, remains popular as many businesses put hybrid-working into their contracts. The much-prophesied move to the countryside, on the other hand, has not lasted, with the majority of buyers still thought to be prioritising their commute. Work life balance is key however, with close amenities like pubs, green space and shops ranking highly.

With the growth of technology, developers have better tools to assess what buyers are looking for and ensure these aspects are included within their developments. Whether it’s home gyms or puppy daycare, they will want to ensure they are responding to demand. Having a flexible funding partner that understands these challenges will be an important piece of the puzzle as developers put spades in the ground for future projects.”

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